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O soft embalmer of the still midnight! Shutting with careful fingers and benign Our gloom-pleas'd eyes, embower'd from the light, Enshaded in forgetfulness divine; O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes, Or wait the "Amen" ere thy poppy throws Around my bed its lulling charities. Then save me, or the passèd day will shine Upon my pillow, breeding many woes, - Save me from curious Conscience, that still [lords]1 Its strength for darkness, burrowing like [a]2 mole; Turn the key deftly in the oilèd wards, And seal the hushèd Casket of my Soul.
About the headline (FAQ)View original text (without footnotes)
First published in a Plymouth newspaper in 1838
1 changed to "hoards" by Richard Woodhouse, and kept by Keats in the second transcription. Chávez uses this version.
2 changed to "the" in Keats' second transcription. Chávez uses this as well.
- by John Keats (1795 - 1821), "To Sleep", written 1819? [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by (Edward) Maurice Besly (1888 - 1945), "Sleep", published 1922 [ SATB chorus a cappella ], London : Curwen [sung text not yet checked]
- by (Edward) Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976), "Sonnet", op. 31 no. 6 (1943), published 1944, first performed 1943 [ tenor, horn, and strings or piano ], from Serenade for tenor, horn and strings, no. 6, London : Boosey & Hawkes [sung text checked 1 time]
- by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895 - 1968), "To Sleep", published 1954 [ SATB chorus a cappella ], NY : Galaxy [sung text not yet checked]
- by Carlos Chávez (1899 - 1978), "Sonnet to Sleep", published 1946 [ SSAATTBB chorus a cappella ], from Three Nocturnes, no. 1 [sung text checked 1 time]
- by David M. Epstein (1930 - 2002), "To Sleep", published 1963 [ soprano and strings ], from Four Songs, NY : Carl Fischer [sung text not yet checked]
- by Hans Gál (1890 - 1987), "To Sleep", op. 61 no. 3 (1953?), published 1954 [ SATB chorus a cappella ], from Four Part-Songs, no. 3, Boosey & Hawkes, London [sung text not yet checked]
- by Scott Gendel (b. 1977), "To sleep", 2000 [ medium-high voice and piano ], from Keats Songs, no. 2 [sung text checked 1 time]
- by Michael Karp , "To Sleep", published 1978 [ SATB chorus and piano ] [sung text not yet checked]
- by Bernard James Naylor (1907 - 1986), "To Sleep", published 1952 [ voice and piano ], London : Augener [sung text not yet checked]
- by Solomon Pimsleur (1900 - 1962), "Sleep", 1927-8 [ SATB quartet or chorus and string quartet or orchestra ], from Sonnet-Tableau [sung text not yet checked]
- by Alec Rowley (1892 - 1958), "Song to Sleep", published 1936 [ voice and piano ], London : Edward Arnold [sung text not yet checked]
- by Egon Joseph Wellesz (1885 - 1974), "To Sleep", published 1965 [ SATB chorus a cappella ], London : Novello [sung text not yet checked]
- by Robert B. Whitcomb (b. 1921), "To Sleep", 1952-3 [ mezzo-soprano and piano ], from Two Sonnets [sung text not yet checked]
- by Donald H. White (1921 - 2016), "Sonnet", published 1979 [ narrator followed by symphonic band ] [sung text not yet checked]
- by (James) Healey Willan (1880 - 1968), "Sonnet -- To Sleep", published 1925 [ medium voice and piano ], London : Frederick Harris [sung text not yet checked]
Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):
- FRE French (Français) (Jean-Pierre Granger) , "Sonnet", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
- NYN Norwegian (Nynorsk) (Are Frode Søholt) , "Sonnette", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
- SPA Spanish (Español) (Pablo Sabat) , "Soneto"
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 14
Word count: 104
Ô doux embaumeur de la nuit paisible ! Fermant de ses doigts soigneux et bienveillants Nos yeux enjôlés par les ténèbres, abrités de la lumière, Ombragés dans l'oubli divin ! Ô sommeil apaisant ! Si tel est ton désir, ferme Pendant ton cantique, mes yeux consentants ; Ou attends l'amen avant que ton pavot ne jette Autour de mon lit ses dons rassurants. Puis sauve-moi ! Sinon le jour éteint brillera Sur mon oreiller, engendrant maints chagrins. Sauve-moi de la Conscience curieuse qui toujours impose Sa force dans les ténèbres, fouissant telle une taupe Tourne adroitement la clef dans les gardes huilées Et scelle le silencieux Coffret de mon Âme.
- Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2010 by Jean-Pierre Granger, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.
Jean-Pierre Granger.  Contact: trazom69 (AT) hotmail (DOT) comIf you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:
This text was added to the website: 2010-11-11
Line count: 14
Word count: 111